John Curtiss Underwood, Statement on behalf of Southern Refugees to President Andrew Johnson, Washington, D.C.

Source citation
Reprinted in John Savage, The Life and Public Services of Andrew Johnson, Seventeenth President of the United States... (New York: Derby and Miller Publishers, 1866), 346-347.
Type
Speech
Date Certainty
Exact
Transcriber
John Osborne
Transcription date
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Mr. President,
-The gentlemen who come with me to pay their respects to the Chief Magistrate of the nation are for the most part exiles from the South—exiles for their devotion to the Union and the Constitution, in defiance of threats and persecution of the slaveholding aristocracy. Your recent utterances have stirred our spirits like the sound of a trumpet, and encouraged the hope that we may ere long in safety visit our desolated farms, and rebuild our houses in the sunny South. We have no feelings but those of kindness for the common people of our section - even for those who, by physical or moral compulsion, or by gross deception, have been arrayed in arms against the Government. We would not say, with Joshua of old, ‘'Every one who rebels shall be put to death ;" but woe to the wicked leaders who, though baffled, are neither humbled nor subdued; whose arrogance and treason are as dangerous to us and to the country as ever. We thank you for declaring that these great criminals must be punished. The Great Author of nature and providence decrees that those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind. We know that we cannot go home in safety while traitors, whose hands are still dripping with the warm blood of our martyred brothers, remain defiant and unpunished. It is folly to give sugar plums to tigers and hyenas. It is more than folly to talk of clemency and mercy to these worse than Catalines, for clemency and mercy to them is cruelty and murder to the innocent and unborn. If General Jackson had punished the treason of Calhoun we should not have witnessed this rebellion. If the guilty leaders of this rebellion shall be properly punished our children’s children will not be compelled to look upon another like it for generations. By the blood of our martyred President. by the agonies of our starved and mutilated prisoners, by the tens of thousands slain in battle, and the desolations of home and country, and all the waste of life and treasure for the last four years with no feelings of revenge, but in sincerest sorrow, we pray that your administration may be both a terror to evil-doers and a protection to all who pursue the paths of peace. And while we mourn and lament our great and good and murdered Chief, too kind and too indulgent, we fear, for these stormy times, we thank God for the belief that, knowing the character of the leaders of the rebellion as you do, you will so deal with them that our whole country will be an asylum for the oppressod of every creed and every clime—the home of peace, freedom, industry, education and religion—a light and an example to the nations of the whole earth, down a long, bright beneficent future.
How to Cite This Page: "John Curtiss Underwood, Statement on behalf of Southern Refugees to President Andrew Johnson, Washington, D.C.," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/43809.